Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Probably not historically accurate, but superb entertainment
on 21 June 2015
First of all, a few details about the article (Dutch edition) since at least a previous purchaser was confused. The item I received is a single dvd. There are two parts in it: Treason (Clémence Poésy plays Mary Stuart) and Plot (Robert Carlyle plays James I). Each is 1h45 long. Poésy only appears in Part One, and Carlyle only appears in Part Two. You have to place the cursor on Plot to watch the second part, which might have led to the confusion. And as the texts are in Dutch, this might not be clear.
Part 1 tells the story of Mary Stuart. This story has been told in film before (notably in the classic film with Vanessa Redgrave in the leading role) so there is not much that is new and this rendition could be called "a remake". But Clémence Poésy is so strikingly beautiful but no red-blooded male can but enjoy the film. Her mixed French-Scottish accent is delightful .. and it is not impossible that Mary Stuart, who lived for many years at the French court, might have spoken like this ;-) ... So, great Part 1.
Part 2 deals with James I and The Gunpowder Plot. The Gunpowder Plot is not that central, although it plays an important part ... Instead, the film focuses on how horrible James was as a human being. Physically repulsive, and morally even more so. Fun to watch but a bit too much gore for my liking. Michael Fassbender has a bit part as Guy Fawkes, who is a secondary character and does not speak many lines.
I am not an expert on the period, so cannot judge how historically accurate these two films are, but they are certainly superb entertainment. I think they take a great deal of "artistic liberties" and the characters are black and white: Mary is the perfect heroine, James is the perfect villain. But their intention seems to be to entertain, not to respect historical accuracy.
I take one Star off because the title is misleading. One would expect a film about the Gunpowder Plot. The Gunpowder Plot features only on Part 2 and is only one of its two focuses (the other is Carlyle showing James I as "bad boy, bad boy, bad boy"). And I would not say that Part 1 and Part 2 go together. They are totally separate films, with different casts, and should not have been grouped together as a "series".
All this said, both are great fun.